April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month...how timely for me! I am sharing this with you because I want every single one of you reading this to keep oral cancer in mind the next time you go to the dentist. If your dentist doesn't already do a screening for you, make sure you ask them to. It takes less than five minutes and it could save your life. At the very least, it will give you peace of mind. Make sure they are thorough...that means not just a quick visual check but actually picking up your tongue and looking for anything that might be suspect. The earlier the cancer is detected, the better the outcome.
Busy moms and dads out there...this message is for you. If something hurts, make an appointment, see your doctor or your dentist. Don't wait! It doesn't take long for one rogue cell to grow into full blown cancer. In my case, it was really just a couple of months, only I didn't know it was cancer because even though I had a sore in my mouth, I didn't do anything about it. I was too busy, the kids needed me, work was crazy, and so on and so on and so on. By the time I finally talked to my dentist about why my tongue hurt so much, it was already stage 4. That little sore on my tongue first appeared right at the beginning of September and I was officially diagnosed the week after Thanksgiving. I can't help but wonder, if I had gone in when that one little spot first appeared, how different my treatment might have been. I'm sure my kids would have preferred that I take one afternoon off to get it looked at as opposed to 15 days in the hospital away from them. If only I had taken a day off of work...I wouldn't be taking a year off of work. You see what I'm getting at.
I didn't really plan on being such a downer...I really just don't want anyone else out there to have to do what I am doing. Truly, it is no fun. If just one person asks their dentist for a screening because they read this, I will be so, so happy.
One more quick thought for all my friends who smoke...STOP IT this instant!!! You already know all the statistics and how bad it is for you. I am not and never have been a smoker, but I am an anomaly with this diagnosis. If you are a smoker, your oral cancer risk is so high. Don't do this to yourself, please, please, please. Thank you, that is all.
Sparkles and love to you all,